Posts Tagged ‘feature’

Wot I Think: Unturned

Unturned

I’ve been wondering for a while what kinds of games kids who grew up playing Minecraft and Roblox would go on to make for themselves. This is a generation that’s been immersed in modding culture and open objectives since it could grasp a mouse, and I’m fascinated to see how that might have formed new attitudes to games in general.

One particular answer is Unturned [official site], a free-to-play Day-Glo take on DayZ. Made by a Canadian school student, it’s just come out of Early Access, where it attracted nearly 25 million players. But was that simply because it’s free, or is there more to uncover in Unturned? Here’s wot I think. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Nvidia is overcharging us all off, just a bit

As I was saying, Intel’s CPU strategy has gone into meltdown. As a consequence, the cynicism of its approach in the face of weak competition – right up until AMD pulled its new Ryzen out of the proverbial – has been laid bare. But it’s not just Chipzilla that’s worthy of your scorn. For some time now, Nvidia has essentially been ripping us all off just a little bit. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

Behold The Kickmen can’t escape the problems of football games

Still basically a football game.

Behold The Kickmen [official site] is an almost-football sportsball game: there’s a ball and two teams trying to get it in each other’s goal via tackling, sprinting, passing and kicking. It’s only almost-football though because it has been designed by someone with a wilfull ignorance of football’s details, and who dislikes the sport but did enjoy playing classic football Amiga game Sensible Soccer. Footballers become “kickmen”, your opponent’s team is made up of “enemies”, you “do” a goal rather score one, and the pitch is circular and surrounded by walls.

It mines its own ignorance with comic intent, but I was curious whether it could move beyond the developer’s Twitter bants and stand up as an arcade sports game in its own right. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Yonder – The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Ignore the silly name, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [official site] is pretty special. A combat-free, risk-free game of exploration and meandering, farming and cat-gathering, questing and lazily fishing. Here’s wot I think: Read the rest of this entry »

Podcast: The Electronic Wireless Show talk Sun Dogs, Black Crown and rubbish merchandise

Pod dogs

What’s that faint light? It’s the glare of the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show, crashing through the atmosphere of the internet like an unstoppable comet capable of both massive destruction and enlightened conversation. This week, we’ve all been playing transhumanist adventure game Sun Dogs, which sees us romping through the solar system, necking drinks made out of germs and being killed over and over and over again by extraterrestrial forces beyond even our own post-human ken. It’s quite a pleasant trip.

But we’re also talking about “merchandise” and why it is often so rubbish. Pip will warm your heart with tales of a contraband dagger, and Adam will soothe you with a story about blood. There is much to learn. Read the rest of this entry »

Playing the games found behind clickbait adverts

Fernando Torres, yesterday

We’ve all seen them before, between the thumbnails offering an explanation why ‘millions of people’ are cancelling their Netflix accounts and the promise of a fruit that ‘scientists claim’ can reverse ageing. One is maybe at the bottom of the page you’re reading. The image might depict a Deku-esque sentient tree looming over a brave warrior captioned with ‘If you own a computer you must try this game!’, or a voluptuous elf with the label ‘95% of Players LOSE CONTROL When They Play This game’, as if it’s so raunchy that you’ll be manically tearing your pants off within seconds of starting to play.

These are games with advertising so desperate that it’d be easy to assume no one with a sliver of taste plays them. It’d be easy to assume that we’ve moved beyond the days of late noughties empire-builder/clicker hit Evony, when women with no connection to the game invited players to “Join the Fun”. It’d be easy, if these games didn’t have enormous audiences and generate huge amounts of revenue.

To learn more, I clicked the faux-Deku tree, jumped into the games and spent some time getting to know the people who play them. Read the rest of this entry »

Fire Pro Wrestling World is great in-ring but lacks depth

firepro2

Fire Pro Wrestling World [official site] is the indy high-flyer who has been wowing crowds all over the world. Maybe you were lucky enough to see her live years ago in a small out-of-town venue, where she was the clear stand-out in an underwhelming show. Maybe you just heard the buzz and envied friends who were lucky enough to catch her in action.

Well, now you can see the magic for yourself. After a long absence, Fire Pro is back and on PC for the first time. it’s not all good news though: the in-ring abilities are as dazzling and technically sound as ever, but a wrestler is only as good as their booking and in these early days of Early Access, everything outside the ring is far too bare.

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Wot I Think: Serial Cleaner

I don’t like it when I don’t know if I like something or not. After this many years of wibbling about games, I feel as though my Iron Hammer Of Judgement should be absolute. With 70s-styled stealth puzzle game Serial Cleaner [official site], though, I am confounded. Time and again, I fire it up and my brain clearly tells me “yeah, I really dig this”, but a few minutes later I’ve alt-F4ed right outta Dodge and am busy making a colleague endure my shower of invective about the game.

I tried to come up with a more insightful way of putting this, but all I’ve ended up with is this: Serial Cleaner is a really good game put inside the shell of a bad one. Or maybe vice-versa. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Ugh!?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Long before Euro Truck Simulator 2, I fell in love with another game about a vehicle-based profession. Taxi driving. The cool console kids might have had Crazy Taxi, but years earlier I was playing with Chuck Rock’s cab-driving sibling, the preposterously titled Ugh!. Read the rest of this entry »

Premature Evaluation: Sælig

saelig6

Every week we send Brendan into the dark age of early access. This time, the old English village life of Sælig [Steam page]

Sælig, we are told at the beginning of this game, is an old English word that means “blessed, fortunate, prosperous, happy”. All fine goals in the harsh world of the dark ages, where the best you can hope for is a good fire and a full belly. But by the end of my brief time with this Anglo-Saxon household management sim, I would be none of these things. I would be “annoyed, discontent, bored, cheerless”. To keep up the old English, I would be wansælig.
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How Spirit hopes to bring humanity to AI

Spirit AI

Sitting in a Bath tearoom having just wiped the lemon curd from my fingers I was tasked with interrogating a robot about a murder. The interrogation scene was the GDC demo for Spirit AI [official site] – middleware geared around bringing more expressive characters to gaming as well as building safer and more inclusive online environments. Both hinge around the same set of technologies. They each look at language to understand interactions but one uses that understanding to build meaningful encounters with AI characters and the other uses it to keep an eye on how players are behaving towards one another.

I was sitting with Mitu Khandaker, creative director at Spirit AI. You might remember her work as the developer, The Tiniest Shark, on the game Redshirt or, if you’re in academia, she’s an assistant arts professor at NYU Game Center and holds a PhD in games and the aesthetics of interactivity. She was watching me play through the demo, using natural language to try to figure out how a man called Martin died and whether the robot is culpable. The demo was by Bossa Studios, makers of Surgeon Simulator, and it gave me a limited amount of time to chat with the robot – me typing and the robot speaking into the tearoom with a female voice in a Scottish accent – before asking for my verdict on her guilt. Read the rest of this entry »

The Joy Of creating citizen stories in Cities: Skylines

Cities: Skylines [official site] is a game in which every single citizen has a name, home and (if you’re playing it reasonably effectively) job, but nobody matters in the slightest. For a game with such a chummy, chipper tone, it’s weirdly cold. Dozens of people might leave town in protest at your mayoral ineptitude, or tens of thousands of people might die in a freak sewage accident, and not only does the game not care, it doesn’t even try to make you care either.

There are eight million stories in the reasonably well-developed city, but if I want a human connection to any of them, I have to build it myself.
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Have You Played… Mortal Kombat?

what are they all looking at? Why these poses? WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE NETHER REALM

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I’ve been playing Injustice 2 recently (sadly, not on PC) and even though it’s probably quite rubbish if you’re a proper fighting game fan, the kind who could have been a concert pianist given your digital dexterity, but if you just want to watch superheroes biff one another, it’s top stuff. Mostly, it’s the loot system that makes it so compelling. It’s all silly boxes that spew out random bits of costume and stats, but that’s enough to keep me coming back again and again.

The studio behind Injustice 2 is led by Ed Boon, creator of Mortal Kombat, and all of this punching and kicking has got me thinking about how much I loved Scorpion back in the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Path Of Exile is my favourite action RPG

I’m not sure there’s a more dangerous, time-consuming diversion in gaming than a good ARPG and Path of Exile [official site] is a very good ARPG. It doesn’t have the dynamic world of a Soldak release or the exquisite polish and crunch of Diablo III, but after playing for more hours than I care to mention, I’m still peeling back layers of the character system. In many RPGs, characters become more fixed as they grow but in Exile, a high-level character is a broader foundation for possible builds rather than a specialist.

There’s a major expansion, Fall of Oriath, coming soon, and I’ll be looking into the future of the game shortly, but before I do that, I’m going to explain why this is my favourite modern ARPG.

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RPS Suggests: Game stores and sites that say no

storevalues

RPS Suggests is where we put forward our own ideas for new games, or changes to old games, or anything else. Think of it like backseat driving for the games industry.

Here are two things that a healthy videogames ecosystem requires: digital distribution platforms that are accessible to any developer who wants to release a game, and websites which attempt to cover every game released.

We have both of the above now and that’s great. Do you know what else is good for a healthy videogames ecosystem? The exact opposite of those things. Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Attack On Titan: Wings Of Freedom?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

Attack On Titan: Wings of Freedom [official site] is a solid 7/10 kind of game, but its concepts and combat are unusual enough that I find myself thinking about it a lot more than other, better games. In short: Attack on Titan is Spider-Man vs. Godzilla in an open world with destructible buildings. Read the rest of this entry »

Steam Charts: Cephalopodic

Sometimes you set out to write a themed entry of the Steam charts around anagrams, and end up posting videos of octopuses. You know how it is. Read the rest of this entry »

The RPG Scrollbars: Second Chance Servers

It is a truth universally accepted as a buggerance that nothing good lasts forever. The server of your favourite online game will go down. History will move on. The Grim Reaper will move in to slash the network server connection, mumbling about what an obvious waste it is of his talents. Ah, but in the world of digital, things are only over when everyone agrees it’s over. As long as enough of the dissenters have sufficient technical skill and cash for servers. And a little bit of luck avoiding lawyers.

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The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for… baking donuts? Yeah, let’s go with that. I’d like to learn how to bake donuts. I will do a bad job of this but the great thing about baking is that even failures are normally delicious. Much like games writing? Does that segue work?

Let’s start with: Katherine Cross wrote a requiem for Mass Effect: Andromeda. It’s a sympathetic article, and a fair encapsulation of the game’s flaws and the shitshow that followed its release. Read the rest of this entry »